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New Custodian of the Holy Land

May 20, 2016. Friar Francesco Patton is the new Custodian of the Holy Land. He succeeds Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who was in office for the last 12 years. Friar Francesco Patton is 52 years old from Vigo Meano (Italy). He graduated in Communication Sciences from the Pontifical Salesian University of Rome and until now was the provincial minister of the Order of Friars Minor in Saint Vigilius of Trent.

More than 4,000 students celebrate the Holy Week with Pope Francis

2014-04-20

Every year, thousands of young people travel to Rome to spend Holy Week close to the Pope. These Spanish students were on a bus for more than 30 hours,  just to make it to the weekly General Audience.

"We come to take part in the UNIV Forum. It's an international conference for university students where we present some of our work, like video productions and share experiences. There are also debates...Really, a bit of everything. This year's theme is 'The Ecology of People and their Environment.'”

This conference first started back in 1968. Now students from more than 200 universities attend every year. They come to the Eternal City to discover its history, culture and spirituality.

This year, more than 4.000 students gathered in St. Peter's Square for the General Audience, so it was impossible for Pope Francis to greet them all personally. Still, some of them were lucky enough.

"I greeted him, and I asked him to pray for me and my family. He asked me to do the same... For a moment I didn't know what to say, but it was definitely very exciting!”

Before saying goodbye, Pope Francis welcomed them and encouraged them to take Holy Week seriously.

POPE FRANCIS
"I am happy to welcome the participants of the UNIV conference, for university students... for university students, on the ecology of people and their environment, promoted by the Prelature of Opus Dei.”

As their trip comes to a close, they're looking forward to seeing the Eternal City a bit more and discovering everything it has to offer. 


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